Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Felix Hess

It's in the Air

Felix Hess's installation It’s in the Air is created out of tens of small flags of Japanese rice paper balanced just off the floor on thin metal struts, making visual the eddies, movements and air pressure fluctuations that happen on a micro level in a given space.  Entirely silent, it alludes to sound for what it is: a relational, extremely local and physical fluctuation in air pressure.

The tens of tiny paper vanes move with the imperceptible eddies of air pressure fluctuations in a space.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that this installation can create both a heightened sense of hearing, or an awareness of complete silence.


The back cover of a book about Felix by Stadgalerie Saarbrucken describes him much more succinctly than we could, so here’s what they have to say. “Felix Hess is a unique crosser of the boundaries between science and art.  The trained physicist wrote his doctorial thesis on the aerodynamics of the boomerang. The calls of frogs in Australia, Mexico, and Japan inspired him to use electronic components to construct devices simulating the communication behaviour of living systems.  His research on sound finally led to interest in hidden phenomena like infrasound. The result: wondrously poetic installations that allow us to experience hidden energy fields with our senses.”


In the context of KYTN, and our exploration of correlations and differences between, two of our primary senses (seeing: hearing), and as part of a range of experiences we’d like you to have, it’s nice to look at how one sense can approach the other, without ever engaging it.  It’s in the Air suggests an acoustic sensation and a metaphor for hearing, while remaining entirely silent.